Why Business Travelers Have to Hit the Ground Running

Why Business Travelers Have to Hit the Ground Running

A recent article in the New York Times suggested that travelers look for a drug store, an ATM, and a Wi-Fi hot spot ASAP upon arrival in a new city. Why? “When you leave home to travel, you’re leaving behind your support system.” That may be true for tourists, but it certainly is not the case – or shouldn’t be – for business travelers. They have to hit the ground running, as the saying goes.

Any employer that sends its workers on business without the amenities they need at hand and a solid support system back at the office is missing the entire point of business travel: getting things done to help a company grow and thrice. Your employees can’t do their best work if they’re tracking down drugstores, ATMs, and – heaven help us – Wi-Fi! They’re on a mission, usually pressed for time. What they need most is a corporate travel program that has their back every step of the way. One that facilitates pre-planning and smart choices that virtually eliminate common headaches and snags.

That starts with booking business-friendly hotels

Hotels that get it have a shop onsite where business travelers can grab virtually any sundries or other stuff they might have left behind. Hotels that really get it now deliver missing items right to the room – no need to trek downstairs, let alone down the block, to find a drug store.The article notes that drug stores often sell fast food as well as packed snacks. (Maybe in NYC, but you wouldn’t want to count on that in just any city or town.) Again, hotels that speak “business” now offer fresh food (often 24/7) at onsite sit-down eateries and grab-and-go counters. Many will help travelers connect with meal or grocery delivery services. Your people can remain well-nourished without having to forage. (Or eat drug store food.)

Connectivity is no luxury for business

The Times article recommends finding a hot spot because, while your hotel might have Wi-Fi, “it might be unreliable or cost too much.” Seriously?! We’re not sending selfies to Grandma here. You need a corporate travel program that assures your people will not only have the bandwidth they need, but the ability to plug in or go mobile with multiple devices.

Hotels want business from businesses

Business travelers represent a significant percentage of hotel stays, and business travel is on the rise for companies of all sizes. The US Travel Association predicts the growth rate for domestic business travel will be higher this year than in the past three years. Just for the six-month period ending May 2019, they say business travel will be 3.2% higher than the same period last year. You get the picture – after all, you’re living it, right?

But it’s not only volume that excites hotels. Business travel fills rooms year round, not seasonally. And business travelers make repeated trips to the same locations, unlike vacationers. Who doesn’t love consistent, predictable revenue?

Hotels want to be your company’s preferred lodging partner because that gives them the same predictability it gives you. Toward that end hotel chains large and small are scrambling to add business-aimed amenities. Things like:

  • Comfy in-room work space with room to spread out (not on the bed), good lighting, and plenty of outlets nearby

  • In-room workout space, complete with equipment

  • High-tech, self-service options

  • Super-comfy beds, because you can’t hit the ground running if you’re asleep on your feet

A corporate travel program that puts employees in truly trip-friendly hotels provides the best possible travel experience. It shows employees you understand the challenges of business travel and fully appreciate their sacrifices as well as the great work they’re doing on the road. Instead of complaining and skirting the rules, they’ll be more apt to follow your guidelines.

And what about that support system back home?

Can you say “snafu”? Who among us has never missed a flight, suffered a surprise last-minute scheduling change, or found their hotel room lacking in promised necessities? Annoying at any time, deadly on a business trip when your people need to get to the meeting to close a big deal or get to the conference to make their presentation on time. And, preferably well-rested and well-fed.

Your people need a system that has their back, 24/7.

No wonder companies are turning to digital technology to manage employee travel

A comprehensive, mobile-friendly app that consolidates travel planning and execution can save time, save money, and assure a consistent level of comfort and amenities for all your business travelers, no matter where they’re headed.

  • Built-in preferred airlines and business-appropriate flight choices

  • Built-in preferred hotels, with dynamic pricing that takes the guesswork and mistakes out of using per diems

  • Built-in meal per diem guidelines

  • No-brainer electronic capture of receipts, eliminating back-end frustrations of tracking down missing information or trying to make business decisions based on incomplete travel data

  • Easy ability to fulfill corporate duty of care (know where employees are, see schedules, real time connectivity for help)

Yes, your people will still likely want to plot out restaurants, etc. nearby, especially if they’ll be in town for several days. But thanks to your handy digital platform, they’ll have time for that rather than wasting time trying to find accommodations designed to accommodate business travelers. They’ll be able to hit the ground running, make a great business impression, and get things done to grow your business.

About the Author: Jeanne Hopkins
Jeanne was the CMO of Lola.com from 2018-20.